Premier Brian Pallister delivered a stern message on Monday to Manitobans who refuse to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.

Pallister expressed his growing frustration with people who are still socializing in large groups, which has lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Manitoba over the past few weeks.

"I'm proud of the vast majority of Manitoba citizens for doing the right things. Get with the program you other guys ... and start respecting the sacrifices that you have to make which are small compared to the price that others will pay for your stupidity. So grow up and stop going out there and giving people COVID."

Health officials reported 100 new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Monday and the province's test positivity rate has risen to 7.1 per cent. There are 80 people in hospital and there was another death at the Parkview Place Long Term Care Home.

Many of the new cases are linked to social gatherings, including Thanksgiving,

The premier says while thoughtful Manitobans are making difficult sacrifices, other people are doing dumb things, and those dumb things are endangering everyone.

Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin cited one example of a person who started an outbreak at a personal care home after attending a faith-based gathering where they likely acquired COVID-19.

In another case, someone went for a medical procedure without revealing that they had been in close contact with a known COVID-19 case. That forced dozens of health-care workers, including an entire surgical team, to self-isolate for two weeks.

Pallister says he doesn't think increasing fines or expanding enforcement for violating COVID-19 guidelines would help get people to adhere to the restrictions.

"It doesn't matter how much we expand our testing capability with more sites, get more front line staff to help with doing testing and tracking. It doesn't matter how many efforts we take if Manitobans won't get with the program if they won't understand how risky it is to transfer a disease of this level of danger to someone else. There aren't enough police in the world to help us right now."

The province reported 831 new cases last week bringing the total number of cases in Manitoba to 4,349.

Roussin says Manitoba could reach a total of 5,000 cases by the end of this week if that trend continues.


Written by Dean Penner